Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Brave Author

I remember reading an article a long time ago about advice that an experienced journalist gave a new writer in the newsroom. He said to "never write anything bad about cats" because the paper would be bombarded with letters from irate cat owners in response.

I thought of this as I read a NYT article titled "Pregnant, Obese and in Danger" by Claire Putnam (a doctor at a Kaiser Permanente hospital). From the article:
One recent night on my delivery shift, 8 out of 10 of my laboring patients were too heavy, with 2 weighing over 300 pounds... obese pregnant patients are more likely to have elevated blood pressure, gestational diabetes and babies with birth complications. The are more likely to need cesareans. And the are more likely to have serious complications from the surgery, such as infections, hernias, or life-threatening bleeding.
An extended family member of mine was a medical EMT and he mentioned how many of his co-workers were hurt while moving and assisting the obese and morbidly obese. This doctor agrees.
In the last year alone, three of the doctors I work with have been significantly injured while treating severely obese women. One even dislocated his shoulder while performing a cesarean on a 400-pound patient.
This author is incredibly brave because I can only imagine the vitriol that this sort of analysis will generate in the comments and on social media. They will say that you are making fun of women for whom their weight is out of their control! You are contributing to negative body image in the media!

The story of the negative impact on health care workers of the obese and the extra costs on society should be factually driven and discussed openly. In the same way that the addicts in Drugs, Inc pose huge challenges on the system through their lifestyle choices (which are universally panned, unlike the obese), these sorts of behaviors should be questioned as well.

Cross posted at Chicago Boyz

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